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Warriors came away from 'playoff game' with renewed respect for the Wizards

Warriors came away from 'playoff game' with renewed respect for the Wizards

The Wizards are a very different team this year than in the past. The Warriors learned that the hard way Tuesday night in a 112-108 upset loss at Verizon Center.

Not only does Washington have a better record, but also opponents view the team and its players with significantly more respect. You could hear it in Golden State's comments to the media after the game. 

The Warriors kept circling a common theme: that game versus the Wizards felt like the playoffs. And perhaps more remarkably, the 2015 NBA Champions seemed to feel some honor in almost pulling off a comeback against Washington. 

Let me run this back for you: The Warriors, who appeared in the last two NBA Finals and won 73 regular-season games last year, were impressed with how they hung with the Wizards. The super team of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson found positives in the loss. 

“It was a hell of a basketball game. Fans got their money’s worth," Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. "It was great competition and I liked how we came back after we were thrown for a loop early on.” 

Shaun Livingston straight-up called the contest a "playoff game."

"The way that [the Wizards] jumped on us. They’re a talented team, everybody kind of knows that and I think the way that we responded and kind of grinded the game out," he said. 

Curry, last year's MVP, felt the same despite missing an open shot that could have tied the game in the last three seconds. 

"We played with so much intensity to get ourselves back in the game," he said. "You know to get the last shot, obviously it did not go our way there. I missed that shot. It could have gone a different way, but that is playoff-type basketball. It was intense, a good test for us the way our games have been going the last few weeks.”

Wizards players have long insisted that they don't get enough respect in the NBA, whether it's from officials or television schedules. In a way, a victory over the top team in the NBA should be enough vindication, but there's something sweet – and perhaps significant – about the vocal admiration of your most elite peers. 

When asked what they see in this year's Wizards team, Warriors players were quick to point out how much they've improved. 

Though not known for heaping praise on opponents, Green noted what a big contribition shooting guard Bradley Beal has made this season. 

"I think before, they’ve had good players and they’ll show that in stretches and in spurts. But they’re a good team now," Green said. "And then Brad [Beal] is healthy. I think that’s been a huge thing over the last couple years. Brad goes out, you’re missing 20-some points off the floor and that’s hard to overcome. So with them having a healthy team, they’ve made a couple trades and brought in a few guys that’s helping them out a lot, but they’re just a better team.” 

Curry admitted that he had a "tough" matchup with John Wall because of all the ways the Wizards star can impact a game. "He’s always on the attack and you gotta play well to win that match up. And he did it a different way tonight," Curry said.

"Neither one of us shot particularly well, but they ran a lot of good sets and he was great at making the right decisions. That back-and-forth is pretty fun so, you know, a lot of talent on that floor all the way around." 

But Curry was also impressed with Washington's confidence in its identity. So much that he slipped in a warning to whomever faces the Wizards in the playoffs. 

"They are healthy and they have a good rhythm, and they know who they are, and how they are going to be successful. They have individual guys playing well and it shows in the win column, so they are going to be tough out in the playoffs and, we’ll see what they do.”

Here's hoping the Warriors' words get back to the Wizards... and whomever makes the national TV schedules. 

MORE WIZARDS: Markieff Morris drops the quote of the year

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Jeff Green 'would love to come back' to Wizards, add stability to journeyman career


Jeff Green 'would love to come back' to Wizards, add stability to journeyman career

With six different teams in the past five years, Jeff Green has become one of the NBA's most itinerant journeymen.

Including his early-career move from Seattle to Oklahoma City, when the franchise transitioned from the Sonics to the Thunder, Green has played in eight different cities. Among active players, only Ish Smith (10), Marco Bellinelli (nine), Shaun Livingston (nine) and Anthony Tolliver (nine) have played for more teams.

Being in Washington this past season, though, was different. That's because Green is from the area, having grown up nearby in Maryland. He starred at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, then at Georgetown University in Northwest D.C.

At 32 years old (he turns 33 in August), Green does not prefer being a basketball nomad. He would like to stay with the Wizards this summer as he aims for a new contract in free agency.

"I would love to come back," Green said. "Great set of guys on this team. I loved playing with Brad [Beal], John [Wall]."

Green also mentioned playing for head coach Scott Brooks, for whom he played in Seattle and Oklahoma City. Brooks was an assistant on the Sonics staff when Green was a rookie, then took over as head coach in the middle of Green's sophomore season. Green left the Thunder after his third season and, 10 years later, was reunited with Brooks in Washington.

The biggest draw for Green to the Wizards, though, is the fact it is his hometown team. Though playing at home is a drawback for some players, Green found major benefits in being around family and in the town where he played college ball.

"Being in front of family every night was great for me. It allowed me to see my daughters more than a couple of times a year, which was great," he said. 

"Being in a familiar setting from my Georgetown days was great. Being able to go up to Georgetown and watch the guys get better, it was great. [Those are] things I haven’t been able to do since being in the league."

On the court, Green found individual success with the Wizards amid a disappointing season overall. He averaged 12.3 points and 4.0 rebounds while setting a career-high in effective field goal percentage (55.5). 

He did all of that while making the league minimum of $2.4 million. On a Wizards team that was in some ways defined by bloated salaries, Green proved a bargain. 

Hoping to come back to the Wizards was a familiar refrain from impending free agents during the Wizards' media exit interviews. Bobby Portis, Jabari Parker, Thomas Bryant and others all suggested they would like to return. 

But with a new front office leadership structure set to be installed, certainty isn't offered for anyone. For Green, the Wizards' new general manager will need to evaluate whether he was part of their problems. 

While Green probably exceeded expectations this season, he was on the floor when the team struggled to rebound the ball and defend just like his teammates were. The Wizards were 27th in the NBA in defensive rating this season at 112.8, according to NBA.com. Green's defensive rating was 112.6.

The Wizards and Green may ultimately not prove a fit in the eyes of the new GM. If that is the case, Green could move on to play in a new city, the ninth of his career. 


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Former Wizards Mike Scott, Jared Dudley deliver the drama in Sixers-Nets Game 4


Former Wizards Mike Scott, Jared Dudley deliver the drama in Sixers-Nets Game 4

The 76ers-Nets playoff series has been wild from the start, but the trash talk and physical play reached the next level in the Sixers' Game 4 victory Sunday. 

The contest featured two ejections as well as a game-deciding shot with 19.7 seconds left in the fourth quarter. In the middle of it all? None other than Jared Dudley and Mike Scott, who played for the Wizards in 2015-16 and 2017-18, respectively. 

Tensions between Dudley and the Sixers had been simmering since he slammed Ben Simmons in the media after Game 1.

With 7:42 left in the third quarter Saturday, Joel Embiid committed a flagrant foul on Jarrett Allen under the basket. An incensed Dudley shoved Embiid, prompting Jimmy Butler to push Dudley away.

When Simmons to try to separate the two, he and Dudley got tangled up and tumbled into the front-row seats. Both Dudley and Butler were ejected on the spot. 

The Nets held a 67-61 advantage when Dudley and Butler were tossed, but that lead dwindled to one point with under a minute left to go. 

Brooklyn made the mistake of leaving Scott open in the corner, where Embiid set him up for a go-ahead three-pointer with 19.7 seconds remaining.

A pair of Tobias Harris free throws sealed the Sixers' 112-108 win, putting them up 3-1 in the series. Scott and company can finish off Dudley's squad in Game 5 on Tuesday. 

In the meantime, listen as Scott goes 1-on-1 with Chris Miller in the latest Wizards Talk Podcast.